If only work were more like love — with relationships, you can at least go on a couple dates before making a long-term commitment. But even if you’re the most thorough job seeker, it’s hard to tell how well you’re going to fit in when you choose one. Like a dear friend once observed to me: “It’s weird to get your dream job,” she said during a lunch where at least one of us was going through a career change, “and then realize it kind of sucks.”
Last week I visited the University of Pennsylvania on a reporting trip, and I brought this weirdness of the career quest to one Matthew Bidwell, an associate management professor at Wharton. He researches the sorts of things that should be taught to everyone before graduating college: how the choices you make about staying in a job or looking for new ones end up affecting your career trajectory, whether in the form of promotions or pay. …
The famous quote has it, “power corrupts.” More precisely — and scientifically — power blinds.
When people are made to feel powerful, they lose some of the mental functions that form empathy, Jerry Useem reports in new story for the Atlantic. It’s an impairment that helps explain why Henry Kissinger thinks he’s sexually magnetic and why Donald Trump thinks he can say or do anything to anyone.
In the general population, neuroscientists have found that people’s brains will mirror the activity they see other people doing. When you watch a video of someone squeezing a rubber ball, your brain will sparkle with activity as though you were doing it yourself. It’s a sympathetic response that researchers think is an ingredient for empathy. …
Just last month, sociologists were telling us about how “busy” became cool. It’s a status play, a way of showing that everyone wants a piece. Displaying your busyness signs that you’re in demand on the job market. Instead of bragging about fancy jewelry or flashy cars, you portray yourself as the scarce resource.
But as soon as a status symbol is everywhere, they warned, it will no longer be cool.
We have officially hit that moment, and Twitter user @priyavprabhakar called it out in a now-viral tweet.
“I hate this celebratory genre of ‘be on the constant verge of death under late capitalism,’” she wrote. …